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Everything posted by waitforufo

  1. At least for the fungus in question, this may be a case for radiation hormesis. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiation_hormesis
  2. Myths fill the gap when one lacks education or life experience. The average person successfully negotiates the problems of their day by applying myths. Rarely do they get into trouble doing so. Yes, it would be better if they had correct understanding, but they have jobs to work, kids to feed, mortgages to pay…. It has always been this way and always will be. If you doubt this, seek out a good administrative assistant in your workplace. Although that person will be very good at what they are paid to do, they will generally have very little understanding of science. In a similar vain, ask any scientist about how the economy works. You will hear a lot of myths their as well.
  3. In philosophy you would study epistemology.
  4. Lucaspa, Your post 32 is excellent. In my post (30) I wasn’t trying to claim expertise in the subject, I was just trying to introduce the concept. Previous posts only mentioned climate as a driver for racial diversity. As I said, “I saw a program …” and that program is the full extent of my expertise on the subject. If you read my post (30) again, you will also find “The same, I am sure is true to some degree with humans.” The degree to which sexual attractiveness has influenced human diversity is a mystery to me. It seems logical however, that it has had some influence.
  5. I agree with the comments on climate and its effect on evolution, but don’t neglect sexual attractiveness. For example, I saw a nature program where they discussed male peacocks. There is not much about the physical properties of male peacocks that make sense from the survival standpoint. By that I mean not getting eaten by predators. The physical properties of male peacocks that make them most attractive to female peacocks also make them poor at flying, running, being seen, and otherwise evading predators. But they do mate more. The same I am sure is true to some degree with humans. If fair skin becomes “fashionable”, for lack of a better word, fair skinned people will mate more often. Currently, most glamour magazines select models from all races based on fairness of skin. Light skinned models are preferred. This could have a tendency to increase the sexual attractiveness of light skinned people thereby increasing the mating possibilities of fair skinned people of all races. This could move the entire human species in the direction of fairer skin. The same would be true for any physical characteristic and long as the attractiveness pervades for a long enough period of time. I would imagine that this type of selection would also work faster than a more random natural selection process based on climate. We are in effect selectively breeding ourselves.
  6. If you want to see an example of the experiment go to <http://brunelleschi.imss.fi.it/museum/esim.asp?c=404013>
  7. Okay, I think some of you are making this a little too complicated. We are talking about Galileo here. Galileo had a hypothesis that earth’s gravity caused all objects to accelerate towards it at the same increasing velocity if friction could be ignored or equalized. Galileo equalized the force of friction by making balls of the same size from different materials. The balls therefore had different masses. Galileo performed experiments to prove his hypothesis correct by rolling balls down a precision declining plane. Along the plain he suspended bells that would ring when struck by a rolling ball. He could move the location of the bells so that the bells rang with equal timing when compared to a swinging pendulum or metronome. By measuring the successive increases in distance between the bells, he could determine the change in velocity of a particular ball for a set decline. The balls all had the same velocity change regardless of their mass (or material of construction.) In other words he did not have to change the positions of the bells after setting them up with the first ball. Galileo was known to be quite a showman. He may have indeed performed a demonstration of his discovery by dropping balls from the tower of Pisa, but this story is likely a myth. An interesting side note of history is that Galileo was not too impressed with this discovery he made early in his life. He had no intention of publishing the results. Galileo was know to enjoy his public notoriety and was concerned that while under arrest by the Church he would slip into obscurity. To keep this from happening he searched his early notes to find topics that the Church would allow him to publish. The Church found nothing offensive in his silly rolling ball experiments and allowed him to publish. Newton, when reading these experiments, did not consider them so trivial.
  8. Many substances that are natural are also considered pollutants based on concentration. Arsenic is a good example. Arsenic naturally occurs in ground water. It is quite likely that the water you drink every day includes measurable levels of arsenic. If the concentration is below a level known to cause harm, the water is not considered polluted. Does this mean people will be comfortable drinking water known to have measurable levels of arsenic? If they are scientists, the answer should be yes. I’m sure most scientists however would choose water without detectable levels of arsenic over those with, given the choice. CO2 can therefore be considered a pollutant based on concentration. In addition, the concentration level differs based on species. That is why miners use to put canaries in mine shafts. So, if you are concerned about nature and not just humans, the safe concentration level will consider entire ecosystems. Since ecosystems are complex, and we keep making new substances, pollutant research should be always ongoing. This is really a question of how do you spend your money. Let’s say science has determined the concentration of arsenic in drinking water below which no harm is detected in humans or the environment. The EPA sets the acceptable level at one tenth that level to be on the safe side. At the time of such setting, this ‘safe level’ is near the level of reasonable detection accuracy. Because the level set is near the level of reasonable detection accuracy, many municipal water systems are considered arsenic free. After 10 years however, detection systems become 1000 times better. This means many once arsenic free municipal water systems now have detectable levels of arsenic. The media picks up on this and reports “Dramatic drop in arsenic free municipal water systems.” Should municipalities spend money to reduce the level of arsenic in their drinking water, or should they spend it on improving their schools? Perhaps if they spend it on schools, the populous will learn to trust the scientific research that determined the safe concentration level. My guess is however, that they will spend the money on reducing the level of arsenic. Everyone knows that those scientists who say it’s a waste of money to further reduce the concentration o arsenic are just shills for Big Water. Those fat cats at Big Water drink bottled water and don’t care if the rest of us die.
  9. The Petraeus plan is to form alliances with regional militias. This plan is showing results. In fact, Petraeus said just today that he felt that troops could be reduced in areas previously strongly controlled by AQI because of these new alliances. So, the surge is showing progress.
  10. Perhaps some of you missed this New York Times article. Regardless of next year’s election outcome, The US military will stay in Iraq. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/12/us/politics/12dems.html?bl&ex=1187150400&en=eafa08e3e1315044&ei=5087%0A Bush has 16+ months left in office and the Democratic Party has already demonstrated that they won’t pull funding for the war as long as he is president. Gen Petraeus has already shifted American policy to supporting local tribal leaders willing to join us in fighting AQI and like minded groups. This policy was used by Petraeus in the Kurdish areas with great success. His recommendations should have been listened to from the beginning and following them now will make success more difficult but far from impossible. Current surge successes using the Petraeus policy will be provided in the September report making it impossible for Democrats, particularly in the Southern States, to pull support for the war. This means the next president will inherit this war and the consequences of withdrawal. This means no withdrawal. By the way, the sensational tactics of the Iraqi insurgents and AQI are of no military importance. They are for political purposes targeted at American public opinion. Expect to see an increase in such events up to the presentation of the September report. Perhaps those requiring such a public report should consider the consequences of their US political jockeying.
  11. Are both a sphere and a circle round? People say the earth is round.
  12. I am in complete agreement with the above quote. All theological scholars of any merit agree that the Bible is a divinely inspired work, not a divinely created work. To be understood, the Bible must therefore be interpreted. The beginning of the Nicene Creed points out that “all that is, seen and unseen” is divinely created. Nature therefore needs no interpretation. It is what it is. Knowledge gained by understanding the divinely created trumps the interpretations of the divinely inspired. Does this make the Bible wrong? Theologians will tell you no, just wrongly interpreted. Are creationists’ nuts? I would say they are just stubborn. They appear to be delusional, but to be clinically delusional I think you have to have hallucinations or visions.
  13. During various ecumenical councils held from 325 to 381 a creed was developed commonly known as the Nicene Creed. The creed is an epitome, not a full definition, of what is required for orthodoxy. It was hoped that by memorizing this summary of the faith, lay people without extensive theological training would still be able to recognize deviations from orthodox doctrines based on the Bible as interpreted in Christian Tradition. Today this creed is accepted by the Roman Catholic, Syrian Orthodox (Jacobite), Eastern Orthodox, Eastern Catholic, Oriental Orthodox, Assyrian, Anglican, Lutheran, Presbyterian, and many other Protestant Churches. The Nicene Creed begins as follows. (Traditional Anglican and others) I believe in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, And of all things visible and invisible. or (Roman Catholic and others) We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen. Perhaps this first article of faith was placed at the beginning of the creed based on chronological order. Perhaps it was put there due to its importance. If a person believes this statement found in the Nicene Creed to be truth, can this person avoid the label “creationist?”
  14. Although I do believe exposure to mercury should be avoided, I wonder just how toxic this element truly is. Mercury compounds were commonly prescribed as medication in the 19th and early 20th century for ailments such as apoplexy, worms, tuberculosis, toothaches, constipation, and hypochondriasis. Children were often treated for worms in the 19th century with mercury compounds. Abraham Lincoln took a medication called blue mass, which contained mercury, before he became president and for some time just after. He only stopped taking the medication because one of his cabinet members told him that it made him argumentative. Mercury compounds were a common treatment for syphilis. Today, archaeologists search for the campgrounds of the Lewis and Clark expedition by looking for latrine sites containing mercury. Virtually all of the expedition members suffered from illnesses which they treated with mercury. Almost everyone over the age of 30 at one time or another has had silver amalgam dental fillings. You can still get silver amalgam fillings. These fillings contain mercury. Then there is fish consumption. Is there a fish that does not contain mercury? Tuna is often found to be high in mercury, yet it is popular. I have heard people at sushi restaurants discuss raw tuna as a health food. The most common side effect of long term mercury exposure is depression and argumentative temperament. Both of these were suffered by Lewis and Lincoln. With such high exposure experienced by people in the past I have a hard time believing that the small exposure one experiences from a vaccine is anything to worry about. As with all toxins, there is an exposure level below which no harm can be found.
  15. Two prior presidents were in the habit of dropping bombs on Iraq. The president of Iraq tried to kill one of these presidents. Iraq has a habit of shooting missiles at our air force patrolling the no-fly zone. Iraq won’t comply with agreed to conditions to end the Persian Gulf War. Iraq completely corrupts the UN through the food for oil program….. You’re correct, it was just right out of the blue.
  16. War of 1812 Mexican-American War Spanish-American War Vietnam Grenada Panama Now what was that about the american way?
  17. Perhaps you can give an example from another military conflict where schedules, time estimates, and deadlines were set and met? How many times were we told that we would be out of Kosovo, Korea, ... Such is the nature of military conflicts. That is why you need to be careful before you start or join one. Christmas seems like a favorite time to say that the troops will be home. Why not just say Christmas but neglect to say which year. It's worked in the past many times.
  18. Should people vote for candidates based on the content of the character? Fidelity is a measure of their character. Society, in my opinion, will always consider infidelity a negative character trait. The media however could inform without turning the disclosure into a media circus. When infidelity includes law breaking then it’s a much bigger deal. As mentioned by Ecoli, we don’t want law breakers making or enforcing our laws. Another issue with the revelation of both character and legal issues is the ability to coerce the politician involved. That is why the media quite correctly makes a bigger deal when exposing the infidelity of Republican politicians. The base voters of Republicans care more about fidelity issues and therefore Republican politicians are more easily compromised by lobbyists. With regard to the Clinton infidelity, ask any woman if she would feel discriminated against if one of her female coworkers, who just happened to be sleeping with the boss, got promoted before them. If you are a manager working for any major US company, you have received government required training explaining how such behavior creates a hostile work environment. Such mandatory training was brought to you by the Democratic Party. Clinton was being sued for sexual harassment. His sex relationships with other female employees was pertinent. His lies to a grand jury were a crime. His party inspired such laws. It wasn’t just a sex thing.
  19. What happens if it's the liberal ones that fail? Those that follow the teaching of Adam Smith would argue that those with ability will just move to States with fewer people that need more than they produce. History is full of such examples.
  20. Actually I am all in favor of a more diversified union. If we moved to such a union however we would have to be committed to letting different paths fail. We would also have to learn to be happy for those who find their own successful paths even when we don't want to change our own. Both of these conditions however, seem to be contrary to human nature.
  21. Permitting variability in governance between States and even between communities within States was considered good and promoted my many of our (U.S) founders. The problem is what do you do with failed States and communities? I’m sure when the New Harmony Community failed it was a significant hardship on those that joined that community. I’m sure some nearby communities provided some of the participants with charity but the State didn’t do much to help them out. Should it have? Polygamous Mormon communities in Utah and Arizona rely heavily on welfare (aid to families with dependant children). Most mothers and children are easily admitted to this social program since the mothers are legally unwed. By providing welfare aid, the State is perpetuating a failed community experiment. But can we let children of community experimenters starve? So if a State embarks on a unique path, say universal medical coverage, and that State goes broke, should the other States bail them out, or should we just say “nice try, thanks for showing us that didn’t work out, must suck to be you.” Perhaps another reason is that people don’t like the idea of differences that others might do better than them on their new path. Take Social Security for example. Let say this program was taken over by the States. Some States kept the program much like it is now. Other States privatized the system and let individuals make their own investment decisions with the State providing minimal retirement for the poor. This would mean that people between States and individuals within States are going to be provided with different retirement benefits. Those that do worse aren’t going to be happy. That’s the problem with most socialist programs. Since they can’t give all people the best, they require all to share equally in the mediocre.
  22. As a US citizen and resident, I suspect that switching to a single payer universal health care system would produce more problems that it would fix. I’m sure that universal health care would come complete with litigation reform. If litigation reform were implemented now, cost would be significantly reduced. Litigation reform won’t be implemented in our current system, since lawyers are suing individual doctors, not the government. Then the lawyers give contributions to politicians. I travel overseas a lot with my job and this topic comes up often. Generally I find that people who don’t use health care often, or those who use only common procedures (e.g. child birth) think universal health care is great. Those that have uncommon procedures or “elective” procedures aren’t so happy. For example, if your rotator cuff is torn by a shoulder dislocation, having repair surgery may be considered elective. I generally find the same is true in the US. Those that don’t use our health care system much think it’s the best in the world. Those that use it aren’t so happy. I do however think our (US) medical system is significantly broken. When I was in high school (70’s) doctors made upper middle class incomes. My family physician lived within walking distance of my home. He made house calls. He drove a 63’ Ford Falcon. Yea, he made more than my family, and you could tell by other aspects of his lifestyle, but not obscenely more. When I went to see him, he seemed to be generally interested in my health, not about if I could pay. Often my family couldn’t pay, at least not right away. When I go to the doctor now, it’s all about money. When they recommend a test (X-ray, MRI, etc.), I always wonder if they recommended it because a) they don’t want to be sued for not running the test, or b) the machine is new and they need to pay it off. Perhaps we could fix the problems with our health care system if we had a) universal malpractice insurance for doctors, b) full medical training reimbursement for medical students, c) build medical schools until class rooms are only half full, and d) let anyone go to medical school as long as they make the grade. Let’s face it we are paying for the malpractice cost anyway. Medical training reimbursement and more medical schools/students would produce an abundance of doctors. I would love to here that doctors in the US were leaving medicine to drive taxis because the money was better (Cuba).
  23. Taboos primarily become a problem when incorporated into law. For example, you may not like the fact that the Catholic Church prohibits birth control or abortion, but you don’t have to be a Catholic. You may find Moslem treatment of women misogynistic, but if you don’t have to be Moslem is it your business? The reason I say this is the primary problem and not the complete problem is that we have government social program. Some would have our social systems force Catholics pay for birth control and abortions, Moslems and Jews pay for the inspection of pork products, and atheists pay for homeless shelters that also preach, and so on. Why should they have to? YT2095 mentions harming others. Well, if you live a lifestyle that harms you, should you really expect others to bail you out from your own self inflicted injuries? So for example, if smoking marijuana makes you a lazy do nothing loser, like it did me in my youth, should society bail you out? Now I don’t think prison would have made me better, but I think it was okay for those that did help me to say, okay here is some help but no more of those taboo bong hits for you. Should society have laws against methamphetamine use? If they don’t how do they stop people from using it. If they use it and their life end up in the gutter can they then prohibit that individual prior to giving them help? Finally, suicide is taboo. It is also against the law in most states (US). In states where it is not against the law you cannot legally stop some one you love from committing suicide. By stopping them you would be committing a form a kidnapping by inhibiting their liberty.
  24. As a parent, I assure you that you will have plenty of opportunity to screw up your kids. Having raised three of my own, I for one am glad I left their genes to chance. Does anyone really believe that in such a process there won’t be a few mistakes made? Are you prepared to take responsibility for such a mistake? For a lifetime? Will you send your kid back if they don’t turn out as ordered? Would you sue? Next time you read the news paper check out vital statistics section on new births. Parents seem to select baby names based on fads. When my daughter was born I think half the girls were named Brittany or Tiffany. Can you image the day when a first grade class is full of nothing but identically designed children? Finally, the random nature of your own children helps you have greater compassion and empathy to others.
  25. My son was having behavior problems in school when he was in the first grade. His teacher suggested I have his pediatrician check him for ADHD. After a physical, the pediatrician thought ADHD was likely, but he wanted the opinion of a Psychiatrist. The Psychiatrist recommended a low dose of Ritalin daily. Now I was willing to follow these instructions, I even went a picked up the medication, but I was still hesitant. So, I called his previous pediatrician from a town we had recently relocated from. The first question he asked was how much sleep does you son get at night? I said about 8 hours a night. He told me that children my son’s age often need at least 12 hours of sleep every night. He said Ritalin was a good treatment for ADHD, but if I wanted to postpone the treatment for a time to see if more sleep helped it wouldn’t be a big deal. He also told me to make sure my son was actually sleeping when in his bedroom. The first night I put him to bed early I checked 2 hours later to make sure he was asleep. Nope. When I asked him why, he said he was cold. So I put some more blankets on his bed. Checked again in an hour and he was fast asleep. After that first night, he slept about 12 hours a night. His sleep time dropped off as he grew older. No more complaints from school. I had him checked again and his Psychiatrist said he no longer had ADHD symptoms. Before my own personal experience, prescribing amphetamines for ADHD made no sense. After that, it made perfect sense. I know my experience is anecdotal. I have however suggested it to four other parents struggling with the same medical decision for there children. Two decided not to medicate after trying more sleep. I believe that I and all of them would have medicated their children had more sleep not worked.
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